Legend: BLUE-open, RED-closed, GREEN-by donation
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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

marching to the same drummer

i've compiled a long list of musical moments in march from the various yoga studio websites. half of them fall around the same weekend as the march 4th la marathon, which i'll be running this year. if running 26.2 miles were as easy as walking a mile, there'd be a number of events on the 3rd and 4th that i'd be able to attend. alas, try as i might, i'm not superwoman. oh well, at least there's still the other half to choose from later in the month...

Get the "Led" Out with Brock Cahill
Yoga Loft Manhattan Beach
Friday, March 2nd 7:00-9:00pm
Cost: $30

Inverted postures improve circulation, nourish the endocrine glands, and promote the balance of all metabolic functions in the body. When the arms, shoulders, and core are strengthened enough to support the weight of our bodies on our hands or heads, we can change our perspective, feeling lighter, more buoyant, and wonderfully self-sufficient. Upside-down postures offer tremendous physical and emotional benefit and foster self-confidence, bringing us back to the trust, fearlessness, playfulness, and determination we all had when we were little. This Friday, let Brock teach you how to fly~ with a little inspiration from Robert Plant & the gang.
**Recommended for students with an intermediate or advanced practice.

Chanting with Steve Ross
Maha Yoga, Brentwood
Friday, March 2nd 8:00pm
Cost: Donation (for our musicians)

Please join us at Maha Yoga for a blissful evening filled with beautiful chanting.
Sing along with Steve Ross as he leads us through sanskrit chants or simply sit back and soak up the joy.
Guaranteed to open your heart.

Evening Kirtan Concert with Wah! and Shantala
Bala Yoga, West Hollywood
Friday, March 2nd 8:00pm
Cost: $17 in advance/ $20 at the door

Join us for a magical evening of music and spirit!

The Mystical Cup of Life: Experiencing the Ultra-Hypnotic Trance - A Gong Meditation Workshop with Harijiwan
Golden Bridge Yoga, Hollywood
Friday, March 2nd 7:00- 10:00pm
Cost: $35/adv or $40/day of for individual sessions; $60 for both if registered by March 1st (see March 3rd event)

The Mystical Cup of Life is a rarely taught, exceedingly powerful, perceptual shifting meditation. The mudra invokes the self, transmutes the energy, and activates the subtle power of the brain. Then entering a profound hypnotic trance, you will hold the Magical Trees of Life and Death in the planetary lotus of your hand. Rooted within this etheric realm you will reach back through the layers of memory to remove negativity and weakness from this life and previous lives. The suffering caused by impure delusions is cleansed, and the inner radiance of awareness is unobstructed. A new vitality and strength is created, a pristine clarity of mind emerges, and an unassailable state of permanent happiness becomes a reality.
Join Harijiwan for this extraordinary, magical, meditative experience.
Please bring a comfortable mat and pillow for the long relaxation period.

Learn How to Play the Gong - A lecture and demonstration with Harijiwan
Golden Bridge Yoga, Hollywood
Saturday, March 3rd 1:30-4:30pm
Cost: $35/adv or $40/day of for individual sessions; $60 for both if registered by March 1st (see March 2nd event)

The gong is the Master sound. The sound of the gong created the mind. This ancient art can be learned with the right technique, devotion, and applied intelligence. Then the skilled player can open subtle, sophisticated, and wondrous realms, remove darkness, transform negativity, and invoke great healing and luminous wisdom. Banging the gong is easy, but creating celestial sounds which bring transcendence elude those not attuned to the gong’s multi faceted dimensions.
In this course Harijiwan will teach you how to create a Mandala of Sound with the gong and how to use this Mandala to direct energies for healing.
Join us for an enlightening afternoon of lecture and demonstration as Harijiwan reveals the techniques and mantras he uses to create the immense energy and awareness within the resound of the gong that have made his Gong Meditation courses so profoundly transformative.

Yoga Groove Collective w/ Seane Corn, Hala Khouri, Suzanne Sterling & David Romanelli
Yoga Works Pacific Palisades
Saturday, March 3rd 5:30-7:30pm
Cost: By Donation: All Proceeds go to Heal the Bay

Please join us in celebrating the grand opening of our newest YogaWorks studio!

Kirtan in the Canyon
Yoga Desa, Topanga
Saturday, March 3rd 7:30pm

First Saturday of each month at 7:30 p.m. with Andrew & Michele & Friends. Call and response chanting with live devotional music. A truly wonderful experience.

Larisa Stow & Shakti Tribe
Golden Bridge Yoga, Hollywood
Saturday, March 3rd 8:00pm
Cost: $15/adv or $20/day of

Larisa Stow & Shakti Tribe fuse the spiritual and sacred with a pop sensibility, sensuality and rock groove like no other. Committed to expressing the joy in the Oneness that we all share, their live performances are a heart-opening and inspirational journey as they celebrate unity, culture and diversity through their music’s messages of peace, hope and love. Their live shows are an engaging and dynamic blend of East meets West that mixes kirtan (devotional call-and-response), mantra and uplifting music

Kirtan Chanting with Govindas & Radha
Santa Monica Power Yoga West
Saturday, March 3rd 8:00-10:00pm
Cost: Donation

The first Saturday of every month, from 8-10pm, Govindas & Radha will hold a candlelit evening of Kirtan Chanting, as always on donation basis.
Come sing from the deepest corner of your heart!
Bring meditation cushions or blanket (no yoga mat). Wear comfy clothes.

Nigerian Talking Drum Ensemble
Golden Bridge Yoga, Hollywood
Sunday, March 4th 1:30-4:30pm
Cost: $35/adv or $40/day of

The Nigerian Talking Drum Ensemble must be experienced to know their power and heart!
They have a mission and teaching Yoruba music, dance and songs is their passion. Join us for an afternoon of healing through learning new songs and dances and above all play a drum.
The impact of the groups’ artistic excellence on children has been recognized by the California Arts Council, LA Dept. of Cultural Affairs, L.A. County School of the Arts, UCLA and many others. Research has demonstrated a connection between music and improved memory function, increased self-esteem, better concentration. For more information: www.nitade.com.
This workshop is in conjunction with the "Healing: A Cultural Exploration" exhibition at the Craft and Folk Art Museum which runs through April 15, 2007. For more information go to www.cafam.org or call (323)937-4230.

Yoga Unplugged with Kelly McAndrews with Paul Lemire
Yoga Loft Manhattan Beach
Sunday, March 4th 4:00-5:00pm
Cost: $15

Flow Yoga with Live Music

Full Moon Flow with Mark Blanchard and Donna De Lory
Mark Blanchard's Progressive Power Yoga, Brentwood
Sunday, March 4th 6:00pm
Cost: $25 in advance / $30 at the door

Please join us for our monthly full moon Power Yoga class with Mark Blanchard and special guest Donna De Lory for a melodic savasana. Go with the universal flow and ground yourself with the gravitational pull. This is an experience not to be missed, so reserve your spot early!
Donna De Lory is a singer and songwriter whose voice and lyrics transcend time and genre. She was a featured vocalist on Madonna's worldwide Confessions tour and her voice can be heard on albums by Carly Simon, Kim Carnes, Santana, Belinda Carlisle, Bette Midler, and Dave Stringer.
DeLory was surprised to find fans of her new sound in unusual places, such as yoga centers. "It felt really free," she said. "When you play in a space like that, the people are so into the music. They want to be taken away. They're closing their eyes. They’re letting go and really listening."

Healing Through Dance with Vic Hennegan
Yoga Works Larchmont Center for Yoga, Los Angeles
Friday, March 9th 8:00-10:30pm
Cost: $20 by 3/2; $25 after 3/2

The evening will be a freeform dance and healing workshop. Through dance, we connect to our spiritself and to the earth. Through song, we connect to each other, becoming instruments in tune and in harmony, reaching a new and higher level of consciousness. My intention and purpose is to create and bring forth music – for dance, for harmony, and for spiritual connection.

Kirtan (call and response chanting) with Travis Eliot
Santa Monica Yoga
Saturday, March 10th 8:00-9:30pm
Cost: Donation

Kirtan comes from the yoga path of Bhakti (love and devotion). It is the chanting of traditional Sanskrit mantras synergized with dynamic melodies. It is the calling, the yearning, the crying to connect with the Divine. The beauty is that chanting shows us we are already in this state of "oneness", it's just about dissolving the maya (illusion) of separateness. Chanting ignites every lifetron of our being absorbing us into a state of bliss. Add the power of chanting within a group setting and the ecstasy becomes absolutely boundless! Kirtan is for anyone and everyone regardless of background. It is the universal language of the heart. Om shanti...

Zen Dancing Ritual World Concerts with Micheline Berry, Craig Kohland & Shaman's Dream
Exhale Center for Sacred Movement, Venice
Saturday, March 10th 8:30-10:00pm
Cost: $15 in advance; $20 at the door

Where ecstatic dance and live world music meet, Zen Dancing induces peak states of ecstatic embodiment and deep union with the pranic "flow" between dancer and drum, breath and beat. The language of dance is universal and since 1996 Micheline Berry, Craig Kohland and their world ensemble Shaman's Dream have been resurrecting and defining the ritual world dance in Los Angeles, CA. Their live concerts are akin to a world ethnotronica odyssey that will sweep you up in a wave of trance dance marked by the evocative indigenous sounds and deep visionary grooves that have become the signature of their music.
No experience necessary...simply come prepared to move and let the music take you where it will.

Kirtan with Dave Stringer
Sacred Energy Arts, Santa Monica
Friday, March 16th, 8:00pm
Cost: $30

An evening of music and community! We are pleased to welcome Dave to share his many talents in such an intimate setting. Come enjoy a heartfelt evening. Limited seating, so reserve your space early!

Temple Bhajan Band
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center, Marina del Rey
Sunday, March 18th 6:30pm
Cost: Suggested Donation $10

Come join with us for a night of celebration, chanting, and incredible bhajans played by LA's very own Temple Bhajan Band. The Concert will be part of our weekly Sunday night Satsang, followed by Indian food and treats.
The Temple Bhajan Band is a group of devotional chanters that tours Southern California's Yoga Studios, Yoga Retreats, and various social events. They have been together for 5 years. The heart of the band is Sura whose voice is legendary among practitioners of Yoga and Interfaith followers. While Sura sings to the accompaniment of the harmonium he leads the rest of the members on instruments such as the esaraja, tamboura, kartals, flute, violin, and mrdunga drum in a dynamic symphony that is timeless. The Temple Bhajan Band plays ancient Vedic bhajans, which include mantras and chants from spiritual India. Many of the chants are done in a responsive fashion where the audience can participate and experience the purifying pleasure of the chanting.

Spring Awakening with Annmarie Solo
Yoga Works Main Street, Santa Monica
Friday, March 23rd 7:30-9:30pm
Cost: $20 by 3/16; $25 after 3/16

Spring is a time of planting seeds and rebirth. Join us in this Nada Yoga Spring Ritual Vinyasa Flow Class. We will flow to Live Music and Embody our intention for spring. Music is a catalyst for deepening your practice and cultivating rhythm within.
We will take you on a sound landscape journey through this intentional workshop creating an atmosphere for the seeds to take root and encourage growth with attention and great care. This workshop will be a strong flow combined with pranayama and chanting.
This workshop is appropriate for students of all levels; however, some familiarity with general poses is suggested.

Soul Flow: Creative Dance
The Awareness Center, Pasadena
Friday, March 23rd 7:30-9:30 pm
Cost: $15...or 2 for $25

Join Haridass Kaur/Basia for a wholesome and soulful evening! This eclectic event includes creative dancing with a healing journey through the chakras, flowing music, group interaction and playfulness, and a meditative closing circle.

An Evening of Kirtan with the Temple Bhajan Band
Yoga at the Village, Glendale
Saturday, March 24th 8:00pm (Doors Open 7:30pm)
Cost: $20 pre-sale; $25 at the door

Soulful. Mellow. Timeless.
Sing with Sura and the band to the accompaniment of the harmonium, the esaraja, tamboura, kartals, flute, violin, and mrdunga drum in a dynamic symphony that is soulful, mellow and timeless.

Kirtan with Wah!
City Yoga, West Hollywood
Saturday, March 24th 8:00-11:00pm
Cost: $20

The intention of Kirtan is consciousness transformation- directing the singers to vanish into the song as rain drops merge into the ocean. The singing of mantras quiet the mind and the music frees the heart. Wah!’s concerts are high energy and full of sacred connection. Wah! combines reggae, Hindu chanting and pop to create a unique mix of spiritual world music. Described by NY Spirit Magazine, “WAH! injects something a little trippier to create a mellow groove that’s luscious and highly addictive.“
Bring your jubilant Self. Kids are free!
Wah! has ten solo albums to date including Lokaha, Jai Jai Jai, Opium, Hidden In the Name, and Savasana. Wah! tours extensively, performing at yoga centers, festivals, conferences and pop venues. In 2006, Sounds True released a 10-year commemorative album on Wah! called The Best of Wah! Critical acclaim comes as a delicious surprise after many years of touring and recording.

Kirtan with Dave Stringer
Mission Street Yoga, South Pasadena
Friday, March 30th 8:00pm
Cost: $20

Come join your friends and fellow yogis for an uplifting musical experience of kirtan with world renowned musician, Dave Stringer. Tickets can be purchased online or at the door.

Journey Into the Heart: Mantra, Sound Current and Sacred Gong Workshop with Sada Sat Kaur
The Awareness Center, Pasadena
Saturday, March 31st 1:00-3:30pm
Cost: $40 if registered by March 28th, $45 thereafter

Open to all levels: beginner to advanced.
Discover the totality of your unlimited, fearless self and completely relax into deep meditation as you release the blocks that limit you.
The gong is the sound of Creativity itself. It clears and opens the nerves (nadis) and makes you aware of the life force within you and to the effects of sound vibrations all around us. The powerful sound of the gong brings you to a place of ease and peace within your own heart and mind.
You Will Experience:
- A short Kundalini Yoga set to prepare the nervous and glandular systems so that we may fully experience the deep healing effect of the gong
- The effects of ancient meditations on the sound current, Naad, using mantra to unlock the unlimited self within you
- Deep relaxation and healing through the sacred sounds of the gong and harmonium
- Joyful chanting to raise the Kundalini, open the heart and know your unending connection to God
Sada Sat Kaur studied Naad Yoga (the Yoga of Sound) directly with Yogi Bhajan beginning in 1970 and has been teaching Kundalini Yoga and Meditation for 35 years. She has traveled in the U.S., Canada, India and Europe to bring the power and transformational energy of chanting to thousands of people throughout the world.

Concert and Kirtan with Sada Sat Kaur
The Awareness Center, Pasadena
Saturday, March 31st 8:00-10:00pm

Cost: $20 if registered by March 28th, $25 thereafter.

Come and join the Awareness Center family for this special event: call-and-response chanting with world-renowned recording artist Sada Sat Kaur as she plays songs from her albums Angel's Waltz, and Shashara.

Calling The Spirits - An Evening of Mystic Kirtan Music with Sean Johnson and The Wild Lotus Band
Exhale Center for Sacred Movement, Venice
Saturday, March 31st 8:00pm - 10:00pm
Cost: $12; $15 at the door

WAKE UP YOUR SPIRIT THROUGH MUSIC AND SINGING! Crumble the walls around your heart in an evening of evocative kirtan music with Sean Johnson and The Wild Lotus Band. These adventurous yogi-musicians put a funky, mystic New Orleans twist on the traditional yoga music of India. Coaxing the spirits, they guide call-and-response chants and play songs that soothe your soul in one moment and drive you into a state of wild celebration in the next. Sean also shares inspiring stories and insights about the healing power of mantra and music.
Sean and The Wild Lotus Band travel nationwide seeking to inspire freedom through the blissful power of music and chant. The Wild Lotus Band includes Sean on vocals and harmonium, Matt Johnson on tenor saxophone and guitar, percussionist/vocalist Gwendolyn Colman on frame drum and cajon, and Alvin Young on fretless bass. See more info and hear sound clips from their kirtans at www.seanjohnsonkirtan.com. CDs also available.

Kirtan (call and response chanting) with Daniel Stewart
Santa Monica Yoga
Saturday March 31 8:00-9:30PM
Cost: Donation

Come join us for an evening of music, meditation & chanting. No singing experience needed, only a willingness to open your heart (and your mouth) to the blissful flow.
These Kirtans have been a blast and we look forward to building community with regular events.
Kirtan (from the Sanskrit word for singing) follows a simple form. A lead group calls out the melodies. The crowd responds. Sanskrit is the mother tongue of many modern languages but the true meaning of its sounds is in the emotional effect they create. As our breath becomes synchronous, a feeling of unity and timelessness arises. When we sing without restraint our heartfelt expression brings peace and joy and meditation follows effortlessly.

Monday, February 26, 2007

nominated for best prop in a supporting role

after the prior day's successful completion of all 108 sun salutations, i awoke early sunday morning with very sore shoulders (which warned me that i had some chaturanga/upward dog form corrections to work on, but that's beside the point). everything else, though, was fine. i thought about my plan to take hillary rubin's inversion workshop at city yoga later that afternoon. even if my neck, which had bothered me two days earlier, was finally pain-free, it was now my shoulders that were bothering me. i could drag myself out of bed, get dressed, drive across town, and hope for the best. but then again, it didn't make sense for me to pay good money for a workshop if i ended up spending most of the time resting because it hurt to hold myself upside down. sigh... and i SO wanted to learn how to do a handstand on my own. but it would have to wait until the next time.

i considered my other yoga class options for the day. given my somewhat weakened state, early morning "warrior" classes with matt, light, and vinnie were out of the question. i could take will's workshop/class, but with my luck, he probably had plans to focus on shoulders. argh. what to do?

frustrated, i rolled over and went back to sleep.

an hour later, i woke up and realized that rochelle robertson was scheduled to start teaching a restorative class at yoga desa later that evening.

(a little background history here: after meeting rochelle at the SYTAR conference last january, i had wanted to try out her class at jiva yoga in the palisades but had missed out because i waited too long; right around the time yoga works took over, rochelle stopped teaching there. it was only until she landed this time slot at yoga desa in malibu that i would finally get my chance again.)

with that decision resolved, i happily rolled over again and went back to sleep...

... until i realized that rochelle's class was scheduled to be held at the same time as the academy awards telecast, which i had planned to watch. now what?

long story short: i ended up recording the show while i attended rochelle's class. and i'm glad i did.

as i sailed up PCH and topanga canyon on my way to yoga desa, it became clear to me how many people weren't on the road that evening. after all, most of the residents of malibu were probably at some oscars-viewing party. or even more likely, at the awards ceremony itself, all the way out in hollywood. my calm and stress-free drive was just a taste of things to come.

there were only a handful of us who showed up for rochelle's class. it's hard to say if the class attendance was low because it coincided with the oscars, or because word hadn't gotten around yet about her new class. either way, it was all good as far as i was concerned; it just meant that we all would receive more personalized attention.

if you've ever taken a restorative yoga class, you'll know that it's highly prop-dependent. before rochelle came on board, yoga desa had on hand the usual blankets, blocks, and straps which are used in the more physical yoga classes already being taught at the studio. but they didn't have the bolsters, which are key to most restorative poses. luckily, she was able to get the studio to order those requisite props so that they would be received in time for her first class.

to celebrate the new acquisition, almost all our poses made use of those brand-new bolsters. though still needing some breaking in, the large overstuffed cushions comfortably supported our hips, abdomens, and backs as we eased into side twists, backbends, forward bends, hip openers, and an easy legs up the wall inversion.

and while our bodies rested and healed themselves in the various static poses, rochelle went from student to student, helping each of us stretch and relax even more. at the end of the class, while we lay in our final restorative pose, she beautifully chanted the gayatri mantra over and over again, lulling us all into a state of blissful relaxation.

by the time i got home that night, i found out that, with the exception of little miss sunshine and an inconvenient truth, i really hadn't watched most of the award-winning movies. strangely enough, though, i felt compelled to pick up a copy of the departed at the local blockbuster earlier that morning while i did my errands.

so was it a mere coincidence that i just happened to rent the movie that would win the most awards? or could it be that all this yogic restoration is opening up my mind and making me more psychic? don't i wish!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

the auspicious 108

The new home of Yoga Blend:
1921 West Magnolia Boulevard
Burbank, CA 91506
(818) 954-YOGA (9642)
website: www.yogablend.com

Well, we did it! Yoga Blend has moved to our new home at 1921 W Magnolia Blvd! I would like to thank all of your for your support, patience and for being so amazing. We could not have done this without you. I know that change can be very uncomfortable, but as we all know, it is also inevitable. In yoga and in life, we practice embracing change instead of resisting it. Thank you for all having such a beautiful practice and so warmly opening up to change. I am so honored and blessed to be a part of your path.

Please check our website and come to one of our events this weekend which are all donation only. Feel free to stop by at anytime during the Drum Circle and Open House. All other events have a specific start time, so please be mindful of that.

With infinite love and gratitude. Namaste, Christy

quickly scanning down the list of open house events on the yoga blend website, my eyes stopped when i read this:

108 Sun Salutes - No mat necessary, but do bring a towel!
That's right! Because we will be facing all four directions throughout the Yoga Mala (108 Sun Salutes), we will not be using mats. BUT, you will need a towel. Come prepared to sweat! Please arrive a few minutes early as we will start promptly at 2pm! No late arrivals please!!

i'd heard all about these marathon yoga sessions and had wondered if i would be able to do all 108 surya namaskars without crashing and burning. these rituals, often referred to as yoga malas (after the string of 108 prayer beads), are often performed to celebrate auspicious dates such as the solstice, the equinox, or the start of a new year. but for one reason or another, i hadn't been able fit one into my schedule. until now. and the timing couldn't have been any better. with my training for next week's LA marathon just about done, i was in prime condition; i knew how to get past pain and fatigue to reach my goal.

by the time i had shown up at yoga blend in burbank, there was already a roomful of anxious yogis waiting to get started. i found a spot at the back of the room, placed my belongings on the floor by the wall, and sat down. i looked around to scan the faces. there were a few familiar ones, but i couldn't remember where i had seen them before. i guess that's one downside of being a yoga studio hopper :(

christy marsden greeted our group as she walked into the room. she asked everyone to move their water bottles to the cubbies along the side, which raised a moment of panic among the group. what, no water?!? she explained that besides the bottles possibly getting in our way, she didn't want us to douse the fire that we would be building within our bodies. not being a water bottle junkie, i had no problem with that, although i realized that i had to move my purse and flipflops which were still sitting on the floor. so i joined the crowd as we moved around and cleared our surroundings.

basically, the logistics of our yoga mala were as follows: starting with a pile of 13 counters (in our case, eye pillows) on the floor by christy's feet, we would face the front of the room, which looked west, and do our first sun salute. then we'd do a quarter turn, face north, and do the second. then face east and do the third. then south and the fourth. the west again and the fifth. then we would turn in the opposite direction, face south again and do the sixth. then east and the seventh. then north and the eighth. when we found ourselves facing west again, christy would move a counter from the original pile to another to mark off that group of 8. we would repeat the procedure until all counters were moved. at that point, since we had completed 13 x 8 = 104, we would do the last four facing the front of the room.

simple enough. there were, however, some minor details that had to be worked out as we went along, like how to do all those surya namaskars without hitting the person beside you with your hands, or worse yet, your feet. or how to keep your towel accessible to wipe your sweat from the floor without it getting in your way or that of your neighbor. or for those who were water-dependent, how to work your way through all the bodies to get to your water bottle at the other end of the room. not to worry, though; we had two hours to figure that all out.

christy then did a quick run-through of the sun salutation sequence to make sure we were all on the same page, queued up the music, and off we went.

and what a ecstatic journey it turned out to be! accompanied by an eclectic mix of music ranging from sanskrit chants to eminem, to the beatles, to thievery corporation, we continued to move in a somewhat synchronized fashion, following christy's lead. over and over again, we repeated the following sequence:

1. with hands together in prayer, stand in tadasana (mountain pose)
2. raise arms to urdhva hastasana (upward hand pose)
3. swan dive down to uttanasana (standing forward bend)
4. lengthen spine to ardha uttanasana (half standing forward bend)
5. step carefully back into plank pose
6. lower into chaturanga dandasana (four-limbed staff pose)
7. pull up and forward into urdhva mukha svanasana (upward-facing dog)
8. push back into adho mukha svanasana (downward-facing dog). hold there for three breaths (abbreviated from the usual five in the interest of time)
9. lightly hop (or step) feet between hands and extend to ardha uttanasana
10. fold back down into uttanasana
11. reach arms out to the side and up to urdhva hastasana
12. then return to tadasana.

and before i knew it, christy moved the last eye pillow to the top of the growing stack. i found it hard to believe that i had completed 104 at that point and still had enough energy to spare for the last four! excited that it was almost over, i added in the jumpbacks to get into plank (although landing on the hard floor was a bit jarring on my toes). and when it was all over, i was tempted to raise my arms over my head and jump up and down, just like rocky did at the top of the steps of the philadelphia museum of art. flying high now!

with our last chance to express gratitude (and relief) that it was finally over, we lustily chanted a round of oms, then wished everyone, especially christy, a big namaste!

as for the significance of the number 108, besides it being the number of beads on a mala, here are a few facts listed on the flyer christy handed out after class:

9 times 12: Both of these numbers have been said to have spiritual significance in many traditions. 9 times 12 is 108. Also, 1 plus 8 equals 9. That 9 times 12 equals 108.

Powers of 1, 2, and 3 in math: 1 to 1st power=1; 2 to 2nd power=4 (2x2); 3 to 3rd power=27 (3x3x3). 1x4x27=108

Harshad number: 108 is a Harshad number, which is an integer divisible by the sum of its digits (Harshad is from Sanskrit, and means "great joy")

Sanskrit alphabet: There are 54 letters in the Sanskrit alphabet. Each has masculine and feminine, shiva and shakti. 54 times 2 is 108.

Upanishads: Some say there are 108 Upanishads, texts of the wisdom of the ancient sages.

Sun and Earth: The diameter of the Sun is 108 times the diameter of the Earth. The distance from the Sun to the Earth is 108 times the diameter of the Sun.

Moon and Earth: The average distance of the Moon from the Earth is 108 times the diameter of the Moon.

Pranayama: If one is able to be so calm in meditation as to have only 108 breaths in a day, enlightenment will come.

and while i may still have a long way to go before reaching enlightenment, after calmly completing those consecutive 108 sun salutes, i feel like i'm a step closer!

Saturday, February 24, 2007


who knew that working a 9-t0-5 desk job could be hazardous to your health?

ever since i started working at my new job, i've spent a good chunk of my days attending meetings, viewing powerpoint presentations, generating spreadsheets, reading specifications, filling out forms, and replying to email. in short, i've been spending most of my time sitting and staring at screens.

so it's no wonder that by the end of the third week, my body was a wreck. my eyes were tired, my neck was stiff, my back was sore, and my shoulders were hunched over. not only that, but thanks to the doughnuts, cake, cookies, and chips that my officemates have been bringing in, i had gained back the weight that i successfully lost last month :(

last friday, after scanning my yoga class options for the evening, i found myself torn between a 7:30pm relaxing flow with stephanie phelan at maha and a 7:15pm forrest session with ben fritz at truyoga. even if i knew that i wanted to relax with stephanie like i did the week before, the need to burn those extra calories won out; i chose to go see ben.

friday night traffic being the way it is in LA, after a brief detour home to change, i reached truyoga with only a few minutes to spare before class was to begin. i signed in and noticed that i was the only one on the roster so far. ben walked in soon after i got there, so while waiting for the other students to show up, i told him all about the stiffness going on up and down my spine -- the neck, the shoulders, the back -- and mentioned that i was considering taking an inversions workshop that sunday. of course, it only dawned on me while we were talking that trying to do a headstand on a sore neck was a bad idea...

after the students from the earlier class made their way out, ben and i made our way into the classroom. we continued to talk about the different yoga poses he would try to work into the class to ease the tension in my upper back. since it was still just the two of us in the room, we walked over to the "rope" wall (actually, they're straps but they serve the same purpose) and he put me in a supported uttanasana to start loosening things up while we waited for the others to show up.

ten minutes into the class, and still no new faces. looking more and more like it was going to be a private session, ben's massage therapy background kicked in. he had me lay on my back with two tennis balls under my upper back. as i relaxed into the pressure coming from underneath, he gently pressed down on my chest to add even more pressure. he instructed me to relax my abdomen as i breathed slowly in and out. after holding that position for a few minutes, he held my head and slowly lengthened my neck, easing the tension. ahhh...

by now, it was clear that everyone but us were busy partying elsewhere because we were the only ones in class. but as far as i was concerned, i was much happier where i was. after all, how often does one get a one-on-one with a teacher whose classes are usually well-attended?

we spent the rest of the time by the wall, where we started out with a supported downward dog. using the straps, ben had me concentrate on moving my hips up and back towards the wall, and while doing that, easing up on the rigidity in my back. we later did some easy backbends along with an interesting assortment of abdominal, inner thigh, and upper arm toning and strengthening poses. and since i had talked about taking that inversion workshop, he had me spend some time in dolphin pose to work on my shoulder and upper arm alignment.

finally, for a delicious ending to the evening's class, i hung upside down along the wall, suspended by the straps placed around my hips. with my head, arms, and shoulders hanging freely, i could feel everything else slowly being stretched -- my neck, my back, my hips. all the effects of gravity and too much sitting were gradually being undone. and while i didn't get the calorie-burning session i originally had hoped for, this was definitely what i needed :)

thanks, ben, and by the way, happy birthday!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

healing santa monica bay

i thought it interesting that two different yoga studios have selected heal the bay as their fundraising beneficiary for the month of march. for those not familiar with this los angeles county-based group, here's their mission statement:

Heal the Bay is a nonprofit environmental organization dedicated to making Southern California coastal waters and watersheds, including Santa Monica Bay, safe, healthy and clean. We use research, education, community action and advocacy to pursue our mission.

heal the bay hosts numerous programs that help raise public awareness about the state of the santa monica bay, such as the educational programs at the santa monica pier aquarium, the annual coastal clean-up day, and the malibu creek watershed restoration project. it also compiles and publishes the beach report card which grades the water quality at over 400 locations along the california coast and includes beach closures and rain advisories.

if you choose to become a member of heal the bay, you will receive benefits such as the quarterly newletter, invitations to events, and discounts at participating businesses such as santa monica yoga and the yoga center in redondo beach.

all donations to heal the bay directly support their ongoing activities and are tax-deductible.

one of the two studios is yoga loft manhattan beach, which is located at the southern end of santa monica bay. they just published their list of designated charities for 2007:


For the past two years, we have offered a discount on our pricing each month. It is our goal to keep the price of yoga affordable for all of you, but it is also time to start giving back. So, we came up with Community Impact.

In lieu of monthly discounts, Yoga Loft will donate $5 from each class series purchased to a different non-profit organization for each month of 2007. These charities will be both local & national, chosen because they are close to my heart or close to yours, and will cover various causes, from the environment and health to childrens and animals’ needs. Here is the list for 2007:

January - The Manhattan Beach 10th Street Fire Fund
February - Children’s Defense Fund
March - Heal the Bay
April - CoachArt
May - Environmental Media Association
June - Children of the Night
July - Cure Autism Now
August - American Oceans Campaign
September - Ovarian Cancer Research Fund
October - Peter Zippi Fund for Animals
November - Planet Aid
December - Richstone Family Center

***NOTE: HS/College students, seniors over 55, and school teachers will continue to receive a 15% discount on all class series. And, we will offer FREE classes that will not count against your series on the following days this year: Memorial Day, 4th of July, Thanksgiving, and Xmas Eve. Proof of donations will be posted at the studio upon receipt.

the other studio is yoga works pacific palisades, which is located near the heart of the bay. they'll be celebrating their grand opening with an all-day affair:

a benefit to Heal the Bay

March 3rd, 2007
8:30am to 7:00pm

Please join us in celebrating the grand opening of the newest YogaWorks studio! This festive day of caring will include free classes, refreshments and luxurious grand prizes from partners including Quiksilver, Roxy, Gaiam, Gingi, Mama Mio, Kolologie, kookoon, Lotion Glow, Netflix, SweetLeaf Stevia, Unna & Co., Pharmaca, Kate Somerville, Sugar Daddy's, FH1, and Desert Essence.

Schedule of Classes
8:30-10:00am - Level 1/2
9:00-10:15am - Just Beginners!!
10:00-11:30am - Level 2
10:30am-12:00pm - Pre-natal
11:30am-1:00pm - Level 1
1:00 - 2:30pm - Just Beginners!!
1:30 - 2:45pm - Level 2/3
2:15-3:15pm - MyYogaSpace for teens
3:00-4:00pm - Gentle
3:30-4:45pm - Just Beginners!!
4:00-5:25pm - Mat Pilates
5:30-7:30pm - Yoga Groove Collective w/ Seane Corn, Hala Khouri, Suzanne Sterling & David Romanelli

By Donation: All Proceeds go to Heal the Bay

if you can't make it to any of those studios for any of the fundraisers, here are 10 more ways you can help heal the bay:

1. Put your mind in the gutter
It’s a fact: what goes into the gutter ends up in the ocean. So keep pet droppings, yard trimmings and trash off the street and out of the storm drains. Report full catch basins to the Dept. of Public Works: LA City: 800-974-9894 LA County: 800-303-0003.

2. Dry out
Overwatering not only wastes resources, it washes trash and toxins out to the ocean. Conserving water also helps the sewage treatment plant do a more effective job. So plant hardy native plants, turn off faucets, fix leaky pipes and install low-flow shower heads and toilets.

3. Keep your eye on the balloon
Released helium balloons eventually pop and land, and often end up in the ocean. There, animals make the fatal mistake of thinking they’re food. Avoid using balloons for decoration, and pop old balloons and put them in the trash.

4. Eighty-six the six-pack rings
Avoid buying them, or cut them up before you throw them out. Marine animals choke on garbage and get tangled up in trash. Six pack rings are like nooses to birds and fish, who can’t get out once they get stuck.

5. Get into detox
Avoid buying toxic products like liquid drain openers. Use pesticides as infrequently as possible, and look for non-toxic alternatives. Use compost instead of chemical fertilizers. And if you must use harsh chemical products, dispose of them at authorized household hazardous waste drop-off centers. For locations, call 1-800-CLEANUP.

6. Scoop the poop
Cleaning up after your own dog, cat or horse keeps their waste out of the storm drain and away from your favorite beach.

7. Make a clean sweep
Use a broom, not a hose, when you clean sidewalks and driveways. Collect trash in a dustpan, not the gutter, and use garden clippings as mulch to fertilize your yard.

8. Oil and water shouldn’t mix
Recycle used motor oil at gas stations, auto parts stores and garages. Never pour it down the drain, into the gutter or onto the ground, where it can find its way into the storm drain and wash out to sea.

9. Car detail: go to the car wash
Most car washes recycle their water. If you wash your car at home, do it on the grass. Use a bucket to conserve water, and use biodegradeable soap.

10. Join forces with Heal the Bay:
  • Donate
  • Become a member
  • Volunteer - Join a beach or community cleanup, or help out at our offices or at our events
  • Educate - Help spread the word through our education programs
  • Buy and wear cool Heal the Bay stuff!
  • Sunday, February 18, 2007

    practicing ahimsa

    1332 Hermosa Avenue, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254
    (310) 798-0377
    website: www.yogasofia.com

    We are committed to providing our clients with:

    1. The highest quality of yoga instruction available. We strive to provide only the most dedicated, experienced, and well-educated yogis for our staff so that everyone who come to us can relax in the knowledge that they are receiving practical, accurate, and safe instruction.

    2. An environment that is supportive, rejuvenating, and relaxing -- a genuine solace from the stresses of job, family, traffic, and city life.

    3. Support and inform our members' desire for greater health and happiness. We are committed to providing workshops, detox seminars, publications, and customer benefits brought by our founding of Heal the South Bay, an alliance of alternative health professionals of the South Bay.

    4. We are committed to helping rescue lost, abused, and seized animals, and to educating the public about their plight. We support the spaying and neutering of companion animals and a TNR (trap, neuter, return) policy for feral cats and dogs that can no longer be tamed. While it may seem a far cry from the practice of yoga to officially respond to this need, we feel that the protection we can provide to the most innocent and humble among us is just one of many powerful ways to develop our capacity to love-- and to thereby extend the practice of yoga into our daily lives.

    after reading that last item in yogasofia's mission statement, the sanskrit term that immediately came to mind was:

    ahimsa (ə-hĭm'sä') - A Buddhist and Hindu doctrine expressing belief in the sacredness of all living creatures and urging the avoidance of harm and violence.

    their dedication to practicing ahimsa was clearly evident after i read this offer that they extend to all their students:

    Any individual who rescues an animal from a city facility may obtain a certificate from us for one month of unlimited classes at our studio.

    not only that, but this recent announcement further reinforces their commitment to providing a supportive environment to all their students:

    We have added BABYSITTING for all of our Tuesday & Thursday Classes. Just $2 per child, or free for VIP Members.

    so not only do the residents of hermosa beach get to enjoy the daily pleasures of southern california beach living, but they also get pet adoption thank-you gifts and affordable access to child care during yoga class. lucky them!

    as for us yoga aficionados who don't have kids who need to be babysat (thankfully, my kids are old enough to care for themselves) nor have the desire to acquire a pet (at least not any time soon), there are other reasons to pay a visit to yogasofia.

    like their 6:30am yoga classes for early birds (definitely NOT me). and their 7:30pm classes for night owls (which work quite well with my work schedule). and the saturday morning disco yoga class (which i'm dying to try right after my scheduled saturday morning training runs end). and if they ever find a way to offer free parking (it's currently $1 an hour near the studio), it would be the perfect place to practice!

    last week, after putting in a long day at the office, i drove out to yogasofia to take mishalin modena's level 1/2 class. the studio was located in the heart of hermosa beach, just north of the corner of hermosa and pier avenues. with the starbucks and coffee bean stores right across the street and a number of restaurants in the immediate vicinity, there were many options for pre-class drinking and post-class dining.

    after circling the area in search of free parking and finding none, i parked at a nearby meter and made my way through the courtyard to yogasofia (note: the parking structure is the better way to go; not only do you not have to deal with finding enough coins to feed your meter, but you'll never get a parking ticket even if you stay longer than expected.)

    mishalin's class turned out to be very intimate; there were only four of us practicing with her that evening. all of us seemed to have injuries that we were dealing with -- knees, back, whatever -- and mishalin nicely modified her class to accommodate all our issues. she's a regular at saul david raye's classes at exhale venice, which clearly explains her style of yoga instruction.

    i've added her class to my list of post-work options; i'll need to return to try out the other teachers to see what their classes are like... including keith's new "rockin' yoga" class on fridays at 6pm, if i can sneak out of work early :)

    Thursday, February 15, 2007

    coupling on valentine's day

    dimmed lights... soft music... clasping hands... giving and receiving massages... releasing tension... then quietly listening to a partner's steady, rhythmic breathing...

    welcome to saul david raye's valentine's day partner yoga and massage class at exhale venice.

    i got lucky last wednesday evening. not only was the class taught by one of the best teachers in LA, but my partner was probably the best i could have hoped for. she (yes, it was a fellow female) was tracy krosnoff, a yoga teacher whose perfect downward dog i had fallen in love with the first time i had ever watched her demonstrate it in class.

    i had originally shown up for the partner class sans partner. since the class description said: "Bring a friend, a valentine or come alone and we will find you someone to partner with," i had tried to convince my friends to join me, but found no takers. for some reason, they all chose work over yoga and said that they'd just meet me later for dinner. go figure.

    knowing that i had a 50-50 chance of ending up with an interesting person to share my practice with, i went ahead anyway and showed up for class. as i walked into the lobby, i spotted tracy, who had just finished teaching a class and was animatedly chatting with a group of students. we exchanged greetings and i mentioned that i was there for saul's class. when tracy found out that he was teaching a special class that evening, she expressed some interest in the possibility of staying a bit longer for it. realizing that this was an opportunity i couldn't afford to let pass, i urged her to stay and be my partner. luckily, since it's fairly easy to convince anyone to take a class with saul, especially if it involves thai massage, it didn't take much arm-twisting on my part to get her to agree. besides, with most of the city driving around for their v-day dinner reservations, she knew that she was better off staying where she was than rushing out just to get stuck in traffic. once again, the yoga gods were looking out for me!

    once we were all gathered in the room, saul had us pick partners. he then instructed us to place our mats right beside those of our partners and spread blankets over what were now essentially larger mats. he then had us lie down side by side on our covered mats and center on our breathing before proceeding with our class.

    the asanas saul made us do were simple enough even for the non-yogi partners in the group. rather than my trying to describe each move in great detail, let's just say that we did partner versions of downward dog, warrior 2, triangle, and cobra, among others. and since i had tracy, another excellent teacher, as my partner, i reveled in the challenge of trying to match my alignment with her perfect yogic form.

    the series of partner yoga poses was then followed by partner thai massage on the blankets. this is where the class became worth much more than the price of admission; not only did i learn the basics of giving thai massage, but i also ended up receiving a stimulating, yet relaxing, massage myself. starting with the soles of the feet, we massaged each other, moving up through the calves, to the thighs, through the sacrum up to the upper back. we pressed, we rubbed, we pounded. ahhh...

    once all the tension was blissfully stretched and massaged out of our muscles, the entire class chanted in unison. before leaving the room, we thanked our partners (namaste, tracy!) then made our way out into the cool night to continue on with the rest of our valentine's evening plans.

    if my friends only knew what they missed...

    Sunday, February 11, 2007

    changes of address

    you may need to update your contacts list with these yoga studio address changes:

    planet yoga in hermosa beach is announcing their new name - lyfe yoga center:

    Open House - March 3rd and 4th
    Free Yoga, Free Food 8am-6pm
    "let yourself find enlightenment"

    the awareness center in pasadena is moving downstairs to the first floor:

    We're moving into our new space this month! WAHE GURU!
    Starting Feb. 16th, please check in at the reception desk before class to sign in and have your card punched. Remember to bring a mat for the new studio. We have eco mats available for purchase in the retail area.

    We are in need of "Seva" volunteers to assist with garden clean-up and planting and the move in general. Please contact Johanna at 323-359-0099 or email harpal@awarenesscenteryoga.org

    Sat Nam,
    Wahe Guru Kaur
    and "Team Awareness"

    *** 2/13 update: now that insight yoga has closed, rick colella will now be teaching $10 CASH ONLY classes at the awareness center. he will also be accepting unused insight yoga class credits as payment... so if you have any, this is a great way to use them up!

    here's what's on the schedule so far:
    Insight Yoga/Flow Wed Feb 21st 4:30-6pm
    Insight Yoga/Flow Friday Feb 23rd 4:30-6pm
    Insight Yoga/Flow Sunday Feb 25th 11am-12:30pm

    and finally,

    yoga blend in burbank is moving and will have a grand opening party at their new location:

    To better serve you, our wonderful students, Yoga Blend is moving to 1919-1921 W Magnolia Blvd (1/2 mile east of our current location on the north side of the street).
    Our first classes will be held at the new location beginning Sunday, February 18th. We will have uninterrupted classes at our current location through Saturday, February 17th.

    I am so grateful to have so many incredible people in my life and am so very honored to share yoga with all of you. Thank you for your part in bringing this beautiful yoga community to life!

    With so much love and infinite gratitude...


    Come join us for our Grand Opening Weekend!
    Friday, Saturday and Sunday, February 23rd-25th

    As a thank you to all those making this growth possible, we will offer FREE classes all day on Saturday and Sunday!
    Donations are welcome and will benefit environmental charities!

    Friday, February 23rd
    8pm-10pm: Drum Circle
    Come to listen, play or dance to the rhythmic pulse of live drums.
    You can bring your own drum or we will have extras on hand.

    Saturday, February 24th
    2:00pm-4:00pm: 108 Sun Salutes with Christy Marsden (BRING A TOWEL!)
    7:00pm-8:30pm: Open House
    8:30pm-10pm: Live Acoustic Performance by Marco Aiello

    Sunday, February 25th
    5:00pm-6:30pm: Live Harp Restorative with Bekah Finch and Regan Remy

    Contact us: 818-943-3880
    Changing soon to: 818-954-YOGA (9642)

    Our current location at 2918 1/2 W Magnolia Blvd. will be available for lease beginning March 1st. It is 950 square feet and is priced at $1.90 per square foot. If you or someone you know is interested, please contact Christy @ 818-943-3880 or info@yogablend.com

    Saturday, February 10, 2007

    that was quick!

    i first heard about urban bliss yoga sometime last month, probably through one of the free yoga magazines i had picked up along the way. urban bliss was located at cool baby, a kids' art and movement place, which was on pico near la cienega. since it was neither near my home nor near my office, i remember checking the class schedule anyway, but after finding no class that fit into my evening nor weekend schedule, i bookmarked their website as a reminder to check again another day.

    well today was that day, and to my surprise, this is what i found on their website:

    Urban Bliss Yoga Closes it's Doors
    It is with a heavy heart that Urban Bliss Yoga closes it's doors. Ayn Carrillo, the owner of Cool Baby and Urban Bliss Yoga will continue to offer prenatal, toddler and kid yoga classes, through Cool Baby.
    (The Parent & Walking Toddler class that was part of Urban Bliss Yoga will continue to be offered, by Cool Baby, at the same time and place).

    If you have purchased a series of classes for an Urban Bliss Yoga class that has been discontinued
    and you have not recieved your refunded yet, please contact Cool Baby at coolbaby@mac.com or call 323. 935.3084.

    huh??? they couldn't have been open more than a couple of months!

    but then again, my initial impression of the place was that it primarily offered classes for kids and babies, with adult yoga classes thrown in just to give the moms something to do while their offspring were doing their own thing.

    but since i've never been there, i really don't know what happened, and i guess i'll never know since urban bliss yoga is now closed...

    Friday, February 09, 2007

    two-part harmony

    Harmony Yoga - Manhattan Beach
    3701 Highland Avenue, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
    (310) 379-6905
    website: www.harmonyyoga.com

    When body, breath and mind work together in harmony to achieve a spiritual goal, that is yoga. -- Baba Hari Dass

    now that i've moved my center of operations, so to speak, to the south bay, i finally find myself conveniently located near all the studios in redondo beach, hermosa beach, manhattan beach, and the surrounding neighborhoods. so the first chance i got, i made a bee-line for the new manhattan beach branch of the redondo beach-based harmony yoga. since it was just down the street from the home of my friend maria, a fledgling yogini, i invited her to come join me in kimberly's flow 1/2 class last tuesday evening. she accepted and agreed to meet me after work.

    harmony manhattan beach opened its doors last january 15th. by the time i visited the studio earlier this week, they already had been offering classes for almost four weeks. but unless you had heard about their new place at the corner of highland and rosecrans, there was no way you could have known that it was a yoga studio; in fact, i really don't remember seeing a sign outside their door. i'm sure the locals still think that anyone walking around the neighborhood with a yoga mat is probably headed to the bikram studio, just catty-corner from harmony.

    the new studio is a small but bright space. located slightly below street level, its corner location gives it two full walls of floor-to-ceiling windows which let in lots of light (at least during the day). with pale green walls and a hardwood floor (which seems to be the standard yoga studio decor these days), it's a one-room affair with a screen that separates the front desk and the entrance from the studio itself. cubbies for students' belongings are against the wall by the front door, while mats and props can be found at the opposite end of the room.

    our evening class was held in virtual darkness; i don't know if the teacher purposely kept the room dim or if the lights could only get so bright. regardless, it was a bit disconcerting not to be able to focus on any one spot in the room, especially during the more demanding balance poses. the class itself turned out to be more challenging than the typical 1/2 level flow class. kimberly said that it ended up being a level 2+ class because the energy in the class seemed to crave more. all i know is that while i gamely followed along, all i really wanted to do was to take it easy... so much for my plan to take a relaxing flow class. as for my friend, maria, she didn't know what hit her. up until that evening, she had been taking beginner level classes and was starting to enjoy them. this time, though, she struggled to keep up. at the end of the class, i told her that it was a really tough class, especially for someone as inexperienced as herself. that seemed to console her a bit, but i'm sure she'll go back to taking easier classes until she's ready to push herself harder.

    harmony manhattan beach will finally be announcing their existence to the yoga world this weekend -- here's the text on their invite flyer:

    Celebrate with us

    We are thrilled to announce our
    in the city of Manhattan Beach
    3701 Highland Ave.

    You can expect another beautiful, friendly and soulful
    yoga center that thrives on excellence.
    We are all excited to bring the Harmony spirit to
    Manhattan Beach.

    Please join us in celebration
    Saturday, February 10
    from 6:30 to 8:30


    while i may not be able to make the party this weekend, i'll probably do an occasional drop-by just to try out the other teachers. after all, it sure beats fighting rush hour traffic on the 405 to get home after work...

    Thursday, February 08, 2007

    i [heart] yoga and music

    here are the musical events for the month of february. and for those who believe that yoga is best when shared with someone special, i've included some valentine's day partner workshops...

    Chanting with Steve Ross
    Maha Yoga
    Friday, February 9, 2007 8pm
    Cost: Donation (for our musicians)

    Fill your heart with divine bliss as Steve leads us through beautiful chants. Guaranteed to have you floating out of the studio. Wear comfortable clothing, bring a cushion to sit on and enjoy.

    Partner Yoga with Scott and Andrea Lewicki
    Enjoy a Playfully Divine Afternoon with Another
    Mission Street Yoga
    Saturday, February 10, 2:30-5:30pm
    $60 per couple ($70 after 2/06); pre-registration necessary

    Vimarsha: Divine Reflection
    Sometimes, to see our own potential more clearly, it helps to see it reflected through the eyes of another. In this workshop, we will playfully explore ways that working with a partner in yoga can deepen our connection to one another and to
    ourselves. Using the ancient and useful principle of Vimarsha, or Divine Reflection, we will move through sequences of partner-assisted poses, where one helps the other, and double yoga poses, where each reflects the other in dynamic and balanced symmetries. We will use synchronized breathing exercises for relaxation and ultimate connection.
    This workshop is for all levels. The only prerequisite is the desire to have fun practicing with another.
    If you are in search of a partner for the workshop, please speak to the front desk before the day of the workshop.

    Let us Love the World to Peace: A Celebration in honor of Gurmukh's 64th Birthday
    Golden Bridge Yoga
    Saturday, February 10, 2007 7:00pm
    Cost: $BY DONATION!

    Kundalini Yoga & Meditation! Chanting! Triple Gong! Bhangra Dancing with our famous DJ Tej Gill! Live performances throughout the evening.
    Sweetheart treats and cake served! Everyone is invited to join us!
    A benefit for Himalayan Kids, a Tibetan orphanage in India. In lieu of gifts, Gurmukh asks that you please donate generously!

    Kirtan (call and response chanting) with Travis Eliot
    Santa Monica Yoga
    Saturday, February 10, 2007 8:00-9:30pm
    By Donation

    Zen Dancing Ritual World Concerts with Micheline Berry, Craig Kohland & Shaman's Dream
    Exhale Venice
    Saturday, February 10, 2007 8:30pm - 10:00pm
    Cost: $15; $20 at the door

    Where ecstatic dance and live world music meet, Zen Dancing® induces peak states of ecstatic embodiment and deep union with the pranic "flow" between dancer and drum, breath and beat.
    The language of dance is universal and since 1996 Micheline Berry, Craig Kohland and their world ensemble Shaman's Dream have been resurrecting and defining the ritual world dance in Los Angeles, CA. Their live concerts are akin to a world ethnotronica odyssey that will sweep you up in a wave of trance dance marked by the evocative indigenous sounds and deep visionary grooves that have become the signature of their music.
    No experience necessary...simply come prepared to move and let the music take you where it will.

    Herbs & Tonics of Love
    Revive Studios
    Sunday, February 11, 2007 1:00-3:00pm
    Cost: $10 per person

    Hosted by Ron Teeguarden's Senior Herbalist Heather Cook, this workshop will teach you how to achieve radiant health through ancient Chinese herbs. Weather you wish to enhance your yoga practice, improve sexual pleasure, or increase your ability to handle stress, this workshop is for you! Come learn about these incredible herbs and the philosophy behind the tradition. www.dragonherbs.com

    Partner Yoga Workshop with Bindu Dexter
    Insight Yoga
    Sunday, February 11, 2007 1:00-3:30pm
    $30 per person/ $50 per couple pre-registered; $40 per person/$60 per couple at the door

    Our yoga practice is generally an individual, personal, internal practice of integration and balance. In partner yoga practice we can cultivate these important qualities in the push-pull context of relationship. True intimacy is always a matter of genuine presence. A sense of wholeness or completeness is experienced when we see our own stability and presence as a partner. This kind of partnership can be seen in terms of universal brother/sisterhood. From our closest most intimate relationships, to the seemingly most distant – we can learn to be a true partner.
    Please join us for this wonderful and illuminating practice! Bring a partner or come alone. In most cases partners of different weight and height can work together. This practice is appropriate for all levels of yoga experience.

    Chakras In Love with Arun Deva & Sequoia Neptune
    Liberation Yoga
    Sunday, February 11, 2007 1:30-4:30pm
    Cost: $40 or $70/couple in advance; $45 or $80/couple at the door

    In the subtle world of the energetic body, there exist certain vortexes that color the current flowing through them. Called chakras, these centers spin like a discus and when they release their potency, magic happens. In the realm of love, each chakra manifests its own peculiar qualities and as they flower, our love itself becomes a pathway to the Mystical Playground of the Divine. Part lecture, part practice and part aroma therapy, this workshop will move you through the different energies we manifest in our relationships, with each other and with our loved ones.

    Partner Yoga with Mara Hesed
    Rising Lotus Yoga
    Sunday, February 11, 2007 2:00-4:00pm
    Cost: $30 for you and your partner in advance, $35 at the door

    Come join Mara Hesed for a foray into the challenges and joys of relating through yoga. Learn ways that you can practice together at home. Express and explore intimacy through physicality. Break through habits and discover new ways of relating. Examine your relationship using yogic philosophy. Connect to one another, beyond words, through loving kindness.
    It is Mara's great pleasure to be assisted for this workshop by her own beloved husband, Duke. Mara and Duke have been practicing their relationship for over 10 years and are still loving it!
    Mara originally began using movement to explore relating as an actor. She has enjoyed teaching Partner Yoga workshops for a few years now, and has recently added Thai Yoga Massage to her bag of tricks.
    This class will be a fun, frank awakening for you and your partner and will put you into just the right frame of mind for Valentine's Day!

    Partner Yoga Workshop with Steven Vincent and Anitra Wetzel
    Angel City Yoga
    Sunday, February 11, 2007 2:00-4:00 p.m.
    Cost: $45.00 per couple

    “Yoga Squared” multiplies the joy and fun of yoga practice to the nth degree!
    This workshop will blend Partner Yoga (yoga postures performed together with another practitioner), Assisted Yoga (postures performed with the help and support of another practitioner) and Thai Yoga massage (manipulation and stimulation of limbs and body tissues in Yoga postures).
    You will be amazed at how much you can get out of Yoga when practiced together with a partner. It's lots of FUN and it feels GREAT. This will be the perfect way to finally get that friend to try Yoga with you. Your friend can be a Partner or anyone else you want to share the fun and joy of Yoga with.
    This workshop sold out last year, so buy your tickets in advance by calling the studio at (818) 788-9642 or call Steven Vincent at 818-345-YOGA (9642).
    Attend the workshop and you will also receive a coupon for 25% off Dinner for Two at Madeleine Bistro - Unique Cuisine Healthy - Organic - Vegan
    18621 Ventura Blvd., Tarzana, CA 91356

    Partner Yoga and Massage with Julian Walker
    Santa Monica Yoga
    Sunday, February 11, 2007 2:00-5:00PM
    Cost: $90 for two people (or $110 less than one week in advance)
    $50 for one person (or $60 less than one week in advance)

    The response was so overwhelming to the Partner Yoga and Massage Workshop in the Summer that Julian has decided to create two workshops for the Spring (the second will be on March 25).
    This first workshop will:
    get you comfortable doing partner stretches
    create a space to ask for what you want
    explore the shared experience of giving and receiving
    be a fun environment to be "in your bodies" together

    Temple Bhajan Band
    Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center
    Sunday, February 11, 2007 6:30pm
    Cost: Suggested Donation $10

    Come join with us for a night of celebration, chanting, and incredible bhajans played by LA's very own Temple Bhajan Band. The Concert will be part of our weekly Sunday night Satsang, followed by Indian food and treats.
    The Temple Bhajan Band is a group of devotional chanters that tours Southern California's Yoga Studios, Yoga Retreats, and various social events. They have been together for 5 years. The heart of the band is Sura whose voice is legendary among practitioners of Yoga and Interfaith followers. While Sura sings to the accompaniment of the harmonium he leads the rest of the members on instruments such as the esaraja, tamboura, kartals, flute, violin, and mrdunga drum in a dynamic symphony that is timeless. The Temple Bhajan Band plays ancient Vedic bhajans, which include mantras and chants from spiritual India. Many of the chants are done in a responsive fashion where the audience can participate and experience the purifying pleasure of the chanting.

    Yoga Love Fest... A Ritual Yoga Flow with Micheline Berry
    Exhale Venice
    Friday, February 14, 2007 4:15-5:45pm
    Cost: Single class rate

    Open to all levels of yoga. Come alone or with a partner.

    Valentine's Day Partner Yoga & Massage Class with Saul David Raye
    Exhale Venice
    Friday, February 14, 2007 6:00-7:30pm
    Cost: Single class rate

    A partner class with yoga, stretching, meditation, chanting and a little Thai Yoga massage! Bring a friend, a valentine or come alone and we will find you someone to partner with. This will be the same cost as any other class. There is no pre-registration, so please arrive early. Om Shanti Shiva Shakti Namaha.

    Partner Yoga: A Valentine's celebration with Rebecca & Anthony
    City Yoga
    Wednesday, February 14, 2007 6:00-8:30pm
    Cost: $50 per couple ($45 if you register before Feb. 1st)

    Yogi Bhajan once said, “relationships are the highest form of yoga”. Love and relationships come in many forms; romance, family and friendships. This Valentine’s do something different! Forget paying for expensive dinners and jewelry. Come do yoga with your partner and really connect. Celebrate your relationship by bending, balancing and breathing with them. Isn’t that what we do anyway? Rebecca and Anthony will lead this very fun, loving, and playful practice that includes asana, restorative poses, massage techniques, meditation and Valentine’s treats to eat!
    All levels are welcome to attend.

    Valentine's Day Kundalini Yoga with Gurmukh
    Golden Bridge Yoga
    Wednesday, February 14, 2007 6:00pm
    Cost: $15/keytag

    Please join Gurmukh for a bountiful, beautiful and blissful heart-felt Kundalini Yoga and Meditation evening. The class will be dedicated to the Infinite Power of Love.
    Bring a sweet treat, besides yourself, to share the love with others. Hot chocolate will be lovingly served.

    Valentine’s Day Partner Yoga with Meaghan Townsend and David Romanelli
    Exhale Santa Monica
    Wednesday, February 14, 2007 7:15-8:45pm
    Cost: $25

    Thinking of something unique, special, and romantic to do on Valentine's Day? Try Partner Yoga with exhale yoga teachers Meaghan Townsend and David Romanelli. They will lead you and your partner through 90 minutes of partner yoga set to great rock, rap, reggae and world music. You'll cap things off with the perfect Valentine's Day treat...a tasting of an exotic Vosges chocolate and a goody-filled bag to take with you!

    Partner Yoga with William Asad and Patti Asad
    Yoga Works Main Street
    Wednesday, February 14, 2007 7:30-9:30pm
    $50 per couple by 1/31; $60 per couple after 1/31

    William and Patti return to teach their Valentines Day Partner Yoga Workshop, an evening of fun and laughter exploring partner assited asanas and meditation.
    Partner yoga is not limited to romantic partners, nor partners of the opposite sex. This form of yoga welcomes all! It can be practiced with a friend, relative or significant other. Partner yoga also welcomes partners of different sizes, levels and flexibility, this serves as an opportunity in learning to work with different body types.
    Relationships usually serve in reflecting certain aspects of ourselves which need to be addressed: for some of us it involves patience, trust, acceptance and becoming a better receiver or giver. In Partner Yoga you will assist one another in going deeper into certain asanas, and guide each other using fundamental concepts of alignment. The practice will also involve supporting one another in poses to develop trust and cultivate sensitivity when working with others.

    Be My AcroYoga Valentine with Huck Hirsch
    Bala Yoga
    Wednesday, February 14, 2007 7:30-10:00 pm
    Cost: $30/person before February 12th; $40/person after (less than dinner...and more delicious!)

    Step into the current that flows between hearts...and celebrate the love in your life.
    This Valentine’s Day celebrate the many blessings of love through the shared experience of partnered asana, gentle flying and luscious Thai massage. AcroYoga offers a playful invitation to deepen connection and nurture intimacy in sweet creative collaborations.
    Breathe together. Move together. Celebrate togetherness.
    This candlelit workshop will focus on the loving kindness (metta) of giving and receiving within the sacred space where hearts exchange the intimate gift of authentic connection.
    This special workshop is for lovers and friends and solo life artists seeking same for fun in the flow of partnered asana. All loving hearts are welcome. All loving hearts can fly!
    No AcroYoga experience is needed.

    Partner Yoga with William Asad and Patti Asad
    Yoga Works Pacific Palisades
    Friday, February 16, 2007 7:30-9:30pm
    $50 per couple by 2/2; $60 per couple after 2/2

    William and Patti return to teach their Valentines Day Partner Yoga Workshop, an evening of fun and laughter exploring partner assited asanas and meditation. Partner yoga is not limited to romantic partners, nor partners of the opposite sex. This form of yoga welcomes all! It can be practiced with a friend, relative or significant other. Partner yoga also welcomes partners of different sizes, levels and flexibility, this serves as an opportunity in learning to work with different body types. Relationships usually serve in reflecting certain aspects of ourselves which need to be addressed: for some of us it involves patience, trust, acceptance and becoming a better receiver or giver. In Partner Yoga you will assist one another in going deeper into certain asanas, and guide each other using fundamental concepts of alignment. The practice will also involve supporting one another in poses to develop trust and cultivate sensitivity when working with others.

    Partner Yoga Workshop
    Swerve Studio
    Friday, February 16, 2007 7:30-9:30pm
    Cost: $20

    Join David Lynch and Stella Valente for a special CANDLELIGHT PARTNER YOGA WORKSHOP. This workshop will draw from various yoga styles -- Hatha, Astanga, and Iyengar, offering students of all levels a challenging & invigorating yoga journey. Any relationship; lovers, friends or yogis, will be enriched after experiencing a Partner Yoga Workshop.
    Come and enjoy the music, laughter, challenge and joy of Partner Yoga. Email your reservation to info@swervestudio.com.

    Kirtan Celebrating Shivratri
    Exhale Venice
    Friday, February 16, 2007 8:00-10:00pm
    Cost: $15

    Celebrating Shivratri with Dave Stringer, Shiva Rea, Saul David Raye, Craig Kohland + friends!

    Sivaratri - All night vigil to Lord Siva
    Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center
    Friday, February 16, 2007 starting at 9:00pm
    Cost: Sivaratri is a free event and all are welcome.

    All are invited to celebrate Sivaratri, the Night of Siva, one of the most auspicious events of the year in the Hindu calendar.
    It is said that Lord Siva protects the world throughout the year but this is his one night to rest. It is our duty to watch over the world for him. This all night vigil with continuous chanting of the names of Siva, Lord of Yogis, will tune your mind to the highest spiritual vibrations.
    Stay for the first puja (devotional worship), which begins at 9pm or all through the night.
    Offerings of fruits, sweets and flowers are welcome. The festival of Sivaratri will end with a feast at dawn.

    Fabulous Tripsichore Launch Party for New DVD and CD
    Liberation Yoga
    Friday, February 16, 2007 10:00pm-2:00am
    Cost: $20

    In Los Angeles, on February 16, Tripsichore is at Liberation Yoga. The party kicks off at 10:00 pm and the performance of MERELY TOTAL RISK will start then, so get there on time if you can. Latecomers will still be welcomed and it goes on until 2:00 am.
    Drinks and food will be served.

    The Performance: MERELY TOTAL RISK When this show premiered in Germany in September at the Trans-Atlantic Yoga Festival in Cologne, the usually staid Germans were on their feet shouting for more. American yogi, Seane Corn called it the best and sexiest show Tripsichore has done. This is an amazing show performed by astonishingly skilled yogis who have something to say about the ultimate potential of humankind.

    The DVD: TRIPSICHORE YOGA: UNIQUELY ADVANCED VINYASA. Fourteen years in the making, it is a compendium of Tripsichore technique in a 2 DVD set. Produced by Pranamaya, it features performance material, workshop technique and classes. The standard is outrageously difficult. Tripsichore and Pranamaya have made something that will satisfy purchasers for at least 10 years.

    The CD: KILL THE GURU A Noir Yoga Comedy This is a detective genre yoga comedy inspired by the cheap crime fiction and bad gurus of the 1970s. It is a story about the sordid spiritual underbelly of the yoga world and one man’s eventful journey down the dark street of enlightenment. The ancient form of the comedy album is not dead and the notion of yoga comedy is brand new.

    Couples Class with Gurutej
    Blessings Center
    Saturday, February 17, 2007 7:00-9:00pm
    Cost: $54 pre-registered, $64 at the door

    What does being someone's valentine truly mean?
    Showing up when things are challenging? Living for instead of with each other? This is a scheduled time to appreciate all you are to each other and what more you can be. Come for the experience. RSVP.

    Sacred Energy Arts Partner Yoga Workshop with Matthew Raymond Cohen
    (a post-Valentine's Day celebration!) Intermediate/advanced
    Sacred Energy Arts
    Sunday, February 18, 2007 11:00am-2:00pm
    Cost: $40

    Consciously working with a partner builds greater awareness and sensitivity which translates quickly and dramatically into ones solo yoga practice and life. Emphasis will be placed on breath, postural alignment and the cultivation of support, trust, and joy. Bring a partner or one will be supplied for you!

    Community Chanting with Rick and Suwon
    The Awareness Center
    Friday, February 23, 2007 7:30pm
    Cost: FREE

    Yoga Trance Dance with Shiva Rea, Joey Lugassy + Friends
    Celebrating Shiva’s 40th Circumambulation around the Sun
    Exhale Venice
    Saturday, February 24, 2007 8:00-10:00pm
    Cost: $15

    Dance for Life Moving Activism
    Yoga Trance Dance is an exploration of the eternal flow of natural movement through yoga. Yoga Trance Dance flows into an exploration of free-form, breath driven movement to liberate one’s creative life-force and cultivate embodied freedom. Experience the latest spin of meditative and high-energy world music.
    Shiva donates all her proceeds from Yoga Trance Dance:Dance for Life Moving Activism to Trees for the Future raising money to plant over 1,000,008 trees!

    Girish: Yoga Vision Tour
    Golden Bridge Yoga
    Saturday, February 24, 2007 8:00 PM
    Cost: $15/adv or $20/day of

    Concert and DVD release party
    A benefit for Pink-Link.org.
    Hear the music live... sing, chant, dance, groove. Sing your way to a state of bliss... come out and chant, sing, dance, or just be still... celebrate life and love with us... if you can talk you can sing, if you can walk you can dance, if you can sit you can meditate... no experience necessary!
    Also join us for a raffle, silent auction and Green Drink mock-tails!

    Spirit Moves Celebrates the Merger of YogaInsideOut and Bala Yoga
    Bala Yoga
    Saturday, February 24, 2007 9:00 p.m. - midnight (doors open at 8:45pm)
    Cost: $10

    Join us for a fun and fabulous evening of Barefoot Dancing, Performance and Sound Meditation. Snack and drinks will be served. All ages welcome!

    9:00 - Energy Awareness Chi Gong with Aaron (Zaadz.com)
    9:45 - Mesmerizing Bellydance with MESMERA (Mesmera.com)
    10:15 - Fontain's M.U.S.E. - Bay Area transformational dance band (beatmagic.org)
    11:00 - Six Degress Recording Artist Jef Stott and the Embarka Soundsystem - Live Arabic Electro (Jefstott.com)
    Midnight - Mystic Pete, Profound Sound Meditation (MysticPete.com)
    Also featured: Vanesa Martinelli - Visionary Artist (Vanesamartinelli.com)

    Sunday, February 04, 2007

    a hopeless chocoholic

    during the last two weeks of january, in an effort to lose the weight i had gained during the holidays and my recent 50-day celebration, i put myself on a restricted eating plan. rather than follow any of the popular diets on the market today, i devised a plan that was simple and somewhat sensible: besides eating smaller portions, all i had to do was avoid red meat (no hamburgers, no beef tacos, no lasagna), dairy (no pizza, no cheese and crackers, no pinkberry fro-yo), and chocolate (no candy bars, no chocolate chip cookies, no brownies). giving up the meat and dairy wasn't as hard as i thought it would be, but being the chocoholic that i am, having to give up chocolate was agonizing!

    so when i found out that david romanelli was going to hold another of his yoga and chocolate workshops at exhale santa monica on february 3rd -- well past my self-imposed chocolate fast -- i immediately signed up a week before the event to take advantage of the early bird discount.

    what i didn't realize at the time, though, was that my running group had scheduled its longest LA marathon training run the same morning as the workshop. all i could think about was the blissful tasting of chocolate before, during, and after the yoga asanas. a few days before the class, it finally dawned on me that after running close to a marathon distance, there was a good chance that i would be too exhausted to do anything more strenuous than child pose... but since nothing was going to get between me and my chocolate, there was no way i was going to cancel out of the class!

    long story short, i did manage to complete my planned 20-mile run that morning. and as insane as it sounds, i did show up for david's workshop four hours later.

    while it's safe to say that i was pretty much brain-dead for most of the class, i do remember a few things. like the burst of curry and coconut that tickled my tastebuds when i bit into the vosges haut-chocolat naga truffle at the start of the class. and the oh-so-familiar scent that wafted up my nostrils when i held a cup with cocoa nibs up to my nose midway through our practice. and the rich taste of taleggio cheese and vanilla bean in the rooster truffle that i relished right after savasana. and oh yes, there was dave's signature yoga and music (and since i ran at a conservative pace, i had enough energy to get through the entire class, vinyasas and all)...

    my only disappointment was that there wasn't more chocolate tasting involved during the two-hour class. however, since our class was smaller than usual, we were given the opportunity to help ourselves to seconds after class was over. and in my case, thirds :) mmmm... heaven!

    as we left the studio after class, we were each given a goodie bag containing a candy bar (honestly, i was expecting more), a vosges catalog, and a workshop feedback form (with the offer of a 10% discount on a catalog purchase if turned in). later, as i browsed through the glossy pages of the catalog, i came across this gift item (description from the vosges website):

    Yoga + Chocolate Chakra Gift Box

    Free your mind with exotic truffles paired with the 7 chakras and a yoga guidebook.

    According to the yogis, 7 chakras or wheels of energy exist in every human being. Katrina and David will take you on a tour of the 7 chakras shedding light on their meaning while teaching how to stimulate each chakra through both a specific yoga posture and a Vosges truffle. The Yoga + Chocolate Chakra box includes 7 truffles (1 for each chakra) and a guide book by David Romanelli with quotes, fun insight and helpful illustrations. Free your mind with exotic truffles, music inspiration and a quenching yoga class. All three powerful experiences in one small box. Take the journey...

    To download the music or to learn more about David and his message, classes and workshops, check out www.YeahDaveYoga.com.

    Truffle Flavors:
    Wattleseed - milk chocolate + wattleseeds (have a flavor of chocolate, hazelnut, coffee, and vanilla)
    Red Fire - dark chocolate + Ceylon cinnamon + ancho chili powder
    Naga - milk chocolate + sweet Indian curry powder + coconut
    Quandong - dark chocolate + quandong (a wild Australian fruit with a tart apricot flavor) + topped with rosella powder
    Black Pearl - dark chocolate + ginger + wasabi + black sesame seeds
    Tlan Nacu - dark chocolate + Mexican vanilla bean
    Buddha's Leaf - dark chocolate + Malaysian pandan leaves (taste like vanilla wafer and pine nuts) + cocoa powder

    now that's a yoga and chocolate experience! maybe i'll reward myself with this extravagance once i lose those last few pounds...

    Saturday, February 03, 2007

    moving forward

    on january 31st, 2007, two yoga studios officially closed their doors.

    for illumination yoga in tarzana, the closure will be temporary, as outlined in this recent email from joa:

    Crina and I are very proud to have sold our yoga business to the most wonderful couple: Quentin and Sasha. Quentin has taught yoga for many years, and let me tell you, he has the "ju ju". He lives the yoga. He is a pure joy to connect with. Sasha is a CPA who will keep the business financially straight. Crina and I just didn't have that kind of experience, but we still loved our time with you, and wouldn't trade it for the world. We are so pleased to announce that Quinten and Sasha's approach to yoga is very spiritual and loving. Thus, it appears the Illumination tradition shall continue!

    Anyway, please stay tuned as in our next newsletter we will be informing you about an upcomming party for saying goodbye to us and welcoming the new owners. I suspect there will be food, music and dancing.

    the new owners are in the process of getting the new illumination yoga studio up and running; it will reopen on monday, february 12th.

    as for the second studio, forrest yoga institute in santa monica, the closure appears to be permanent. ana forrest and her husband jonathan bowra made a special appearance at the closing ceremonies held last wednesday. the restricted attendee list was composed of forrest teachers, forrest students, forrest supporters, and after some last-minute finagling, yours truly.

    compared to the opening ceremony that was held at this new location almost exactly a year ago, the evening's gathering was more low-key. there was no yoga demonstration by ana and jonathan, no pipe ceremony by a native american ceremonialist, no hors d'oeuvres, no drinks, no raffle, no entertainment.

    instead, the guests quietly filed into the studio and positioned themselves around the two groupings of candles placed on the floor. once everyone was settled down, ana and jonathan walked into the room and led the assembly of familiar faces through what could be considered a group therapy session.

    first, ana led us through a recapitulation exercise. its purpose: to cleanse, to release old baggage, and to grow. while thinking about the different aspects of the issues that were uppermost on our minds (in most cases, that would be the studio's closing), we rhythmically turned our heads right and left while following the beat of ana's and jonathan's drums. as for me, while i shook my head, i found myself thinking: no... no more... i'm letting go... i'm dealing with it... i really don't want to dwell on this anymore... i'm getting dizzy...

    and if it that weren't enough to physically shake the somber thoughts out of our minds, we were then asked to take out the pens and notebooks that were were instructed to bring with us; we were going to start writing.

    ana had us elaborate on paper our thoughts and plans for the future, specifically as it related to forrest yoga. how would we continue the style of yoga that stresses "deep breathing, active feet, and a relaxed neck"? were we going to seek out ana and take her workshops as she traveled around the world? or were we going to seek out the other forrest teachers as they moved on to other studios around LA?

    more importantly, since our lives weren't (and shouldn't be) ruled entirely by our yoga practice, ana posed questions about our lives outside of forrest yoga. did we know what our mission in life was? how we were going to deepen our connection to it? the questions and our initial answers were likely intended to keep us thinking and moving forward as we left the premises for the last time.

    as i walked past the front desk, i picked up a few of the flyers that were placed there by the forrest teachers. here's where you'll find some of them, starting february 1st (updates will be posted at the forrest teacher bio page):

    brian campbell www.bodyworkyoga.com
    shakti's elements, santa monica
    shiatsu massage school, santa monica

    ben fritz www.deserthealer.com
    progressive power yoga, brentwood
    truyoga, santa monica
    shakti's elements, santa monica

    dearbhla kelly dearbhla_k@hotmail.com
    yummy yoga, los feliz
    goda yoga, culver city

    heather onori heatheronori@earthlink.net
    yogahop, santa monica
    shakti's elements, santa monica

    sasha popovich www.sashapopovich.com
    home simply yoga, santa monica
    yoga world, long beach

    shayna reid www.shaynareid.com
    santa monica yoga, santa monica
    shakti's elements, santa monica
    back for yoga, el segundo

    and while the forrest community was mourning the closing of their beloved studio and the possible separation from their friends, i was undergoing similar feelings due to my own personal changes.

    january 31st, 2007 marked the end of my consulting job in the valley. luckily for me, i was about to segue right into a new contract position the very next day. and while it was hard to say goodbye to the familiar people, places, and routines, i was looking forward to meeting new people, discovering new lunch hangouts, and more importantly, getting involved in an industry that was totally unrelated to the one i had just left (and no, it still has nothing to do with yoga).

    and since my new commute will now require me to drive south to torrance instead of north to woodland hills, my usual weekday evening yoga class options will change. instead of being able to drop by black dog and rising lotus after work, i'll now have to find studios in the south bay with classes late enough in the day to accomodate my work schedule. which studios will i end up frequenting? i'll find out soon enough...